Parenting wellness: Take a night off
24 Jul 2019 FAMILY
By: Natasha Archary
Moms and dads need a social life. To stay sane. To find inner tranquility in order to deal with 36-hour days. To exchange war stories with fellow parents. To let off some steam.
Right. Now that we’ve given you ample time to read through the opening again and make sense of it (we know you only managed 4 hours of sleep last night), let us tell you why you need to allow yourself some time off kiddy duty.
The brink of exhaustion
Parental burnout is a real thing. Hands up if you’re feeling this. Or you know just keep reading. In a survey of over 2 000 parents, in Belgium, researchers found that just as likely as it is to burnout from being overworked, moms and dads can burn out too.
Most parents today find the pressure to juggle it all insurmountable. With little to no support from the other biological parent, family or friends, it’s not easy raising a child and still function optimally at the office. Parenting is a 24/7 role. Even when the kids are at school, there’s stuff you need to take care of that relates to them.
Payments. Scheduling doctor appointments. Finding aftercare. Affording aftercare. Getting groceries. Can you spell exhaustion?
Mental health is a major factor. It’s just still one of those things we overlook as adults. As parents, a little more selflessly because the focus is on those little people we’re doing it all for. They make it all worth it. And yes, those clichéd parenting quips are semi-inspiring to a mom or dad who’s just pulled an all-nighter but we need to stop doing that.
We make it difficult for parents who are not coping to reach out and admit that they’re not. According to the survey, 12.9% of moms and 11.6% of dads experienced what researchers call, “high burnout”. In other words, these parents felt exhausted, less productive and emotionally withdrawn at least once a week.
Take a night off
It may not solve all your parenting dilemmas but some time off can help. Taking a breather from the reality of overdue bills and figuring out this adulting thing may provide temporary solace.
Hand over the parenting baton at least once a week and focus that energy on yourself. Even if all it means is thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to take a bubble bath. Parents fail to understand that they cannot pour from a cup that has a crack in it.
This is profound because day in and day out, we selflessly give off ourselves to put our kids first, without stopping to check if we’re okay, emotionally, physically, mentally.